From 2nd Grader to Graduate: Celebrating A Decade of Mentorship

When Annissa was in the second grade, her mother made a decision that would shape her entire life and future. She enrolled Annissa in Big Brothers Big Sisters, hoping to find her a mentor (Big) who could offer guidance, support, and friendship. A decade later, Annissa stands as a proud graduate of the John W. North High School Class of 2024, a testament to the incredible journey she has shared with her Big, Estela.

Estela has become more than just a mentor to Annissa; she has been her source of strength and inspiration. Annissa has seen Estela get married, become a mother, and build a successful career. From organizing outings and creating a dedicated workspace for Annissa during the challenges of COVID-19 to offering empowering words during mental health struggles, Estela has been there for her Little every step of the way. In 2021, Estela was even named California Big Sister of the Year for her unrelenting dedication and impact as Annissa’s mentor.

Some of the most poignant moments in Annissa and Estela’s journey happened this year—their 10th year in the program— like when Estela attended Annissa’s Senior Night to watch her final wrestling match and proudly cheered as she crossed the graduation stage. These milestones are more than just personal achievements for Annissa; they’re a testament to the village of support that rallied behind her at the tender age of seven. Special moments like these highlight the essential role that mentorship and a caring community play in helping young people reach their full potential.

“Annissa dreams big because she knows she has a strong support system behind her,” Estela said. “My dream for Annissa is that she finds fulfillment and achieves all her goals, creating many more along the way.”

With plans to start college in the fall, Annissa continues to thrive with her Big by her side. Estela says that being Annissa mentor has positively impacted her life just as much.

“Being part of this program has given me experiences I never imagined. Every time I speak about Annissa and Big Brothers Big Sisters, I hope people feel inspired to have a similar relationship and be part of this transformative experience.”

As we celebrate Annissa’s graduation, we also celebrate the incredible journey of growth and connection that she and Estela have shared over the last 10 years. Their story is a beacon of hope and potential ignited.


Bright Futures

In June 0f 2023, we hosted the Bright Futures Brunch, our annual graduation event to honor the matches of our Community-based program in Orange County

Read More »